Thursday, December 11, 2014

Out Of the Frying Pan

Anyone who read my book Dawg Tired, the Brain Fog Chronicles, might remember me thinking I was too old to have Multiple Sclerosis. I was taught in nursing school it was a young persons disease. It only affected those under 35. It never occurred to me to think back and remember the numbness I developed that started in my left leg, it went from my knee down just after my son was born. I had assumed the numbness was from an accident I had right before he was born. So in 2002 when I had the symptoms of fainting, extreme fatigue, the skin on the upper right quadrant of my back feeling like it was on fire and trouble walking my family practice doctor set up an appointment for a brain MRI and a consultation with a neurologist - and told me he was doing this just to prove to me nothing was wrong, I was just depressed and if I would just take the Zoloft he was offering me I would be fine. 

I had an "open" MRI with 2 milligrams of Xanax on board. I still had a panic attack. The MRI was clear, the neurologist said I was fine and maybe I needed an antidepressant. I believe it was all a set-up. 

Yet, here I am at the end of 2014, my pacemaker and the leads gone, a new brain MRI (this one with 10 mg of Valium and no panic attack) showing Multiple Sclerosis and a medical history dating back at least to the leg numbness in 1992 when I was 33. Never did I think back and consider the MS might have started before I was 35 it just hadn't been diagnosed. Why wasn't it diagnosed? I had no insurance. My son was born on Medicaid and I had no insurance through my employer at the time. When I moved to Arkansas and went to work at Levi Strauss their absence policies were so strict that taking time off for a doctor appointment for myself was almost impossible. I had already been fired from a job at a nursing home for being in isolation in the hospital with my 18 month old son while he had RSV. I was not allowed to leave and despite the fact I took in a doctor note and called in to work every day I was still fired. 

So now I am no longer working and I have at last solved a long standing mystery. 3 days a week I inject myself with a drug called Copaxone. It is a tiny needle, injected subcutaneously into the fat layer, slowly - over 10 seconds. It stings afterwards, like a red wasp got me, but I'm tough and I can handle it. 

Soon after the MRI the neurologist set me up with a 3 day series of steroid infusions. They took away a lot of the physical pain I had been dealing with for many years. Somehow, even though it has taken this many years, this diagnosis has been a relief. A lot of things now make more sense.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Today would have been Mom's 84th birthday. In her honor, my sisters and I eat Hershey with almond bars because they were Mom's favorite. Happy Birthday Mom! 

I hope your spirit visits and watches over your grandchildren and great grandchildren, you are missed and I really pray you are proud of them; they are children to be proud of. 

Speaking of grandchildren, I recently ordered a book for grandmas to fill out with memories for their grandchildren. As I was looking through the various books I was reading reviews and noticed several people complaining about how to fill out the books regarding "Where did I first meet your grandpa?" and questions of that nature. Personally, even though grandpa and I are divorced I believe the grandchild needs to know where I met grandpa, our first date and such. While we are no longer together the child needs to know her father was conceived and born in a deeply loving relationship. 

I am sure that somewhere in the world there is a publisher who is marketing a book about "My Many Times Divorced Family Tree" or "My Family Tree Became a Weed" or something like that but I feel like my grandchildren deserve to know their family history told in a traditional manner without the extra forks.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Kidney Stones and Waffle Cones

The pain started last Thursday. It was in my right abdomen and was pretty excruciating. I figured it was constipation - people taking hydrocodone have that problem and last week was pretty rough so a bit of being "bound up" was to be expected so I used my nursing knowledge to take care of it. 

I won't go into details but let's say I knew I was unbound.

Finally, yesterday I called and got an appointment today with a very nice Physician's Assistant. First thing she inquired about was constipation. I discussed all of the measures I had taken at home and after an exam she sent me for x-rays and blood work. X-rays showed a couple of possible kidney stones and a clean bowel. We had to stay in town while waiting for blood work, it was kind of still kidney stone vs pancreatitis. No pancreatitis, I was released to eat - I had spent a great deal of the day fasting in case it was pancreatitis. 

Hubby asked me what I wanted to eat - I had been really hungry for a Sonic "Waffle Cone Sundae" but he's kinda cheap so he had been refusing to get me one but today he turned in to the Sonic drive and I finally got one! It was the Reese's cup flavor and it was great! Hubby got a bacon cheeseburger and said it was great.

So now I am at home doing nothing but waiting (ow) for a (ow) kidney stone (ow) to pass. 

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Mimosa Hill in August

Yes, it is August, normally a time of 100 + degree weather and high humidity. We have certainly ventured to the 90 degree territory a few times, but mainly we have had rain. A lot of rain. 

 It isn't like we don't need the rain after the droughts of the last years, and I am praying the water tables of the area rise, but the previously unheard of flooding is quite a problem.

Granted, I have been to the affected towns and remember thinking"Gee, it would flood here quite easily." Then I wonder why people would build on a flood plain. Do those words "flood plain" mean nothing? Have these people never heard of "100 year floods"? I wonder.

I see trailer parks and subdivisions perched on a riverbank and wonder who in the world thought that was a good idea? 

Buy a permit from the county or city to build on a flood plain? The same people will be begging for government help to rebuild after the flood comes. It's even worse than being uninsured and assuming the hospital is at fault for charging huge prices. 

So the lawn is impossible to mow with all the water but that's okay, the tomatoes don't need to be watered and the Naked Lady lilies are lovely. 

I'm glad Mimosa Hill is actually on a hill!


Sunday, June 23, 2013

Cat "Nipped"

Early this morning I was turning over in bed, Hector snuggled to my back, and I started to turn over. Hector got up, purring and sitting to one side like he does. I repositioned myself and reached to give him a scratch under the chin and he BIT me! I tried to pull my hand out and he clamped harder, I was yelling but Hubby snoozed peacefully. Finally I had to reach into the kitty's mouth and pry apart his jaws to get my hand loose.

I could feel blood running down my hand so I got up, went to the sink and turned the light on. Light coming on woke up Hubby. He said "4:39?" I felt woozy so I sat down in the handiest place, the toilet. Next thing I know I was wondering why Rick's nail clippers were on the floor and why was I looking at them so closely.

Rick, in his great wisdom, told me I had passed out. 

He then wondered why I was up in the first place. Still woozy, I told him the cat had bitten me. Poor Hubby got out of bed and saw large amounts of blood everywhere - I really mean everywhere! I have a great deal of respect for the anticoagulation properties of Plavix.
Thinking back, it was June 22, 2011 when I tumbled down the stairs and broke both ankles. Perhaps I need to invest in bubble wrap every June.

So. Before 5am today I had been bitten by the cat, trailed around large amounts of blood and fell off the toilet. How is your day going?

Anyone need a barn cat?

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

We Understand

Hubby and I really do understand. 

He was in a plane crash in 1990, I have fibromyalgia. Really, we both understand.

Chronic pain is a reality, it is a problem we both live with and there are days when one of us will tell the other "I'm sorry, I just can't deal with you today."

No hurt feelings, no getting mad at each other, it just means you need to retreat with your laptop or a book for the day; and for heaven's sake, be sure you are taking all of your meds.

A lot of couples break up due to one partner having chronic pain and I could certainly understand if one just doesn't "get it", but in our case we are both in the same boat and we both understand.

As a nurse, I understood Hubby and his head injury, his arthritis due to injuries, and whatever other issues the head injuries brought.With head injuries, there can be a lot of issues people never even think about. Fortunately he also understood the injury related arthritis I was dealing with too. 

When I hear someone has been in an accident and "only had a head injury" I shudder. Really, people have no idea and while I dearly dislike the current war going on, I am glad it is beginning to shed some light on head injuries.

We have now been married 13 years. In that time we have seen some friends part ways and heard "They aren't the same person I married." 

Really? Do you remember the part about in sickness and health? Did you ever consider that after 5 years, 10 years, or 50 years none of us are the same person. With or without a head injury or the onset of chronic pain. 

How do you know which one will be the one to develop health problems? Did it ever cross your mind it might end up being you? 

In 2003 Hubby and I had to make tremendous changes when I had to quit working. He even learned to make coffee so he could bring me a cup of coffee every morning. We had some rough times financially but the fact I had changed never made a difference. We rolled with the punches, made the changes and forged forward. 

We will be the first to admit we have had big changes, we will tell you we have both changed over the years, we have weathered the changes and grown together.       

Saturday, March 16, 2013


Yes, Home. I love being at home. In spite of what some people think, I like a boring life. But sometimes Life stands in the way of boring.

Ideally I would be here reading and napping most of the time and cooking wonderful meals for my Hubby, but since I can't stand for very long these days the wonderful meals are done in stages on the rare occasions they happen. 

You might see 10 pounds of ground beef and onions cooked and stored in the freezer portioned in ziploc bags. In that stage they are ready for chili or Hamburger Helper or anything for which we want or need to use it. 

Sometimes I will boil a couple of chickens, remove the skin and bones and portion the chicken and broth then freeze it just in case I need to quickly put a meal on the table. 

I always try to deliver a meal when there is a death in the church because the relatives will sometimes descend on a family and no one thinks about the people in the family who really need to eat. A casserole, bread, salad and hot dogs and buns for the kids. You can't forget the kids. Hubby and I fondly remember a lady we lost from our congregation a few years ago, she was convinced the meal wasn't done until there was a plate of weiners on the table. 

Okay. I'll admit. I must have mashed potatoes on the table. With real butter on top. Hubby must have gravy. 

A while back I asked my son to please cook some chicken and he asked, "Who died?" Really, I just wanted some chicken and dumplings. 

I strain my chicken broth, After I finish boiling and removing the bones and skin I strain my chicken broth through a wire strainer before adding it back to the chicken meat. I then let it cool and spend a few hours in the fridge so I can remove the fat from the top.

Well, darn it, now I'm hungry!